St. Pete community rallies together on 25th death anniversary of Tyron Lewis

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement gathered on 18th Avenue and 16th Street on Sunday to honor Tyron Lewis.

“25 years of pain, anger, sorrow, frustration… everything,” a community member said.

Lewis’ family and members of the community are still fighting for justice.

“When we raise up Tyron Lewis’ name, we are constantly reminded and we’re constantly exposing the nature of this social system that takes the lives of African people with impunity,” said Akile Anai with the African People’s Socialist Party.

Anai said the killing of Lewis left a stain on the city.

“It also marked a really important historic rebellion here in the city of St. Pete,” she said.

Lewis’ death sparked days of rioting throughout the city. According to authorities, Lewis was ordered to get out of his car during a traffic stop for speeding, but he refused. Witnesses said Officer James Knight stepped in front of the vehicle and fired several shots when the vehicle started to move.

Although a grand jury ruled that Officer Knight’s actions were justified, people from the Democratic Uhuru Movement say it wasn’t.

“We continue after 25 years to still raise the demand for reparations to the family of Tyron Lewis,” another member of the community said.

On top of justice for Lewis’ family, this group wants a better quality of life for Black communities overall in St. Pete.

“We cannot live in peace with a system that exploits, oppresses, and murders African people, Black people for our benefit.”

The group is also pushing to rename 18th Avenue to Tyron Lewis Avenue.

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